Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Living for the weekend

Covering the wards over the weekend is like travelling to a family wedding in Norfolk. People seem familiar, but they all turn out to be far more bizarre than you'd ever imagined. And the food is disappointing.

You meet a lot of patients whose charming eccentricities as smiling faces in the hallway suddenly become downright freaky. Take Alan. A normal pudgy teenager during the week, somewhat reluctant to get out of bed, turned into a growling Rottweiler.

He wouldn't stop asking whether the operation had ruined his chances of becoming a professional bodybuilder. Given that he refused to stretch his legs even when warned he was heading for a DVT, I thought it unlikely he'd be a regular enough visitor to the gym to get himself a prize-winning six pack.

I quite like the idea of going to his post-op Gun Show though.

Mr Jackson was quite the opposite - a real wanderer. He roamed the corridors with zeal, telling anyone who would listen that his doctors were doing nothing for his diarrhoea. In our defence, it was difficult to do anything for him. Every time we came to see him, he'd locked himself in the toilets, smoking.

Unusually for someone with diarrhoea, he had difficulty providing a good stool sample. I explained that it had to be as sterile a sample as possible, so his suggestion of scraping it from the inside of his pyjamas - whilst inventive and showing an admirable ability to think outside the box - wouldn't actually work.

Nor would the lab accept the sample on the toilet paper that he waved in front of my face.

These people seemed so normal during the week. It almost makes me worry about seeing the other doctors socially - if patients can be this different outside of office hours, what on earth are my workmates hiding? The mind boggles.

Next weekend, I'm staying in.


Elaine said...

Love it! The failure of a stool specimen reminds me of when I had a chest infecction which went on and on in spite of two different antibiotics. The third (azithromycin) worked - or was it the fact that my gp asked me to come back next week with a good sputum specimen and gave me away two containers for same.

Personally, I favour the idea that it was the sputum containers that did the trick - especially as I have kept them and have had no further chest infections.......

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness that is terrifying!

seriously if that happened to me i would have no idea what to say.